Thursday, June 18, 2009

MLB Trade Market: Buyers and Sellers

I'm going to start looking at teams that are expected to be active on the trade market. Today we are going to take a look at a 'Seller', the Baltimore Orioles. We will take a quick look at what they have to offer and what they will be looking at in return.

On the Block:

Aubrey Huff 1B/DH: I wrote about some of Huff's value the other day. To recap he's one of better 1B on the open market right now. He's off to a slow start, but is still one of the better power hitters available. His contract isn't too much of an impediment, and his potential free agency compensation is an added bonus to any acquiring team. Huff will likely be dealt this year, given his impending free agency. The Orioles have a young nucleus, so Huff doesn't really fit into their future plans. He's been solid at first base and can play some at third or a corner outfield spot if needed. Huff should be attractive to any team looking for a left handed power bat. I wouldn't be surprised to see the O's kick in some money to cover part of Huff's contract, allowing them to receive a better prospect package. Overall I think the O's can get two solid prospects for Huff, plus an additional average one.

Teams that may be interested: Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels.

Luke Scott LF/DH: Scott is another player I've featured before. He is in many ways the top corner outfielder on the trade market. Matt Holiday may be a better player, but he costs quite a bit more and is an impending free agent. Scott is under team control through 2012, and is a fraction of the cost. Scott is playing the best baseball of his career, so he is the ultimate 'sell high' candidate for the Orioles. Scott is another redundant player on the O's. The Orioles outfield is set for years to come with the Reimold/Jones/Markakis trio. The O's have Ty Wiggington and Matt Weiters (when he's not catching), to handle DH duties. The O's are probably looking for a prospect package similar to what the Pirates received for Nate McLouth.

Teams that may be interested: Red Sox, Braves, Giants, Tigers, Mets, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals.

Danny Baez RP: Baez is in the last year of his contract and has been extremely effective so far this year. He has a 4-1 record with a 3.15 ERA in 34 innings. He's a great late inning arm for a contender looking to strengthen their bullpen. While he'd be a stretch as a closer he is a valuable reliever in the pen. He can pitch multiple innings, and is equally effective against RH and LH hitters. Baez does carry a hefty price tag ($7 million) so the O's may need to kick in a little money. Regardless they should expect a solid return for him.

Teams that may be interested: New York Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers, Angels

George Sherrill RP: Sherrill the O's closer, has been pretty good so far this year. He has a 2.45 ERA, and has converted 13 out of 15 save attempts. He's not a great overall closer, but he gets the job done. He's probably better suited as a LH setup man. He has been lights out against left handed batters this season. Holding them to a .100/.182/.133 split. He is under team control through 2011, so he has plenty of value to offer. The O's should expect back a decent return with a couple good prospects coming their way.

Teams that may be interested: Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, Rays, Brewers, Angels, White Sox, Phillies.

What the Orioles are looking for: The O's have a good farm system overall so there isn't any one 'need area'. I think they would be looking for some quality young arms. Baltimore will probably focus more on younger pitchers, who aren't already on the 40-man roster. They will have a number of pitchers ready in the next year or two, that they can't afford to waste roster spots on average prospects. The one area where the O's will look for Major League ready talent is the infield. SS, 3B and 1B all need long term solutions. Outside of that I would expect the Orioles to focus on upside over, guys they could put in their line-up right now.

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